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Dave Olson, Published February 10 2014

F-M total building value, single-family permits set record in 2013

FARGO – Year-end building permit numbers show the Fargo metro area set records for total construction value and single-family housing permits issued in 2013, according to figures released by the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead.

The total value of construction in the area last year was about $663 million, eclipsing a record set in 2012 by an estimated $90 million, according to the report released Monday.

The report said single-family construction starts set a record in 2013 with 935, while the overall number of housing starts in the Fargo-Moorhead area across all categories was 1,175 – the highest annual number since 2005.

“The building industry continues to build on record-setting numbers. It’s just been incredible,” said Carlita Dietz, president of the homebuilders association.

Other statistics from the report:

E Fargo finished 2013 with 521 total housing starts, a 29 percent jump from 2012, when there were 403 housing starts. The majority of that growth was in single-family and twin-home construction.

E Dilworth finished the year with 34 total housing starts, double the 17 recorded in 2012.

E Moorhead’s 133 housing starts in 2013 reflected a 53 percent increase over 2012, when 87 total housing starts were recorded.

The home builders association said the city’s efforts to expand housing should keep Moorhead numbers on a positive trend.

E West Fargo finished 2013 with 487 total housing starts, 399 of them involving single-family homes.

Dietz, who is also vice president of Jay Dietz Construction Inc., said West Fargo’s total housing starts took a big jump between 2011, when 210 were recorded, and 2012, when 438 total housing starts were tallied.

She said one thing driving healthy housing numbers in the Fargo-Moorhead area is the number of people moving to the community.

“A lot of good-paying jobs in the area need to be filled,” she said, adding that a large segment of the population is reaching an age where they’re looking to buy homes.

“A lot of people are coming back here,” she said.

“They might have left for what seemed like an awesome job when they were 25, but when they realize what we have to offer, they want to come back. I’ve seen that, personally,” Dietz said.

Lisa Vatnsdal, community development division manager for the city of Moorhead, said a number of things are making the city increasingly attractive for housing.

“Our flood mitigation efforts and the limited need for flood insurance by property owners really affects new construction,” she said, adding that just one active subdivision in Moorhead is within the 100-year floodplain and even there, she said, flood insurance is not required.

She said Moorhead is also working hard to make sure home builders know they are welcome and the numbers suggest they’re getting the message.

According to Vatnsdal, 19 builders took out permits for single-family homes in 2012.

“In 2013, there were 37,” Vatnsdal said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555